A karambit knife is a small curved knife that resembles a claw. The very first karambit knife is believed to have originated among the Minangkabau people of West Sumatra, where according to folklore, it was inspired by the claws of a tiger.

Today, karambit knives are one of the most useful and popular survival tools to have. It is designed both for precision work and safety. There are different types of karambits to choose from. You can find folding karambits, fixed blade karambits and also custom made karambits for people who want to add their personal touch to their tool.

You can use a karambit knife in different kinds of ways. Whether for hunting, slicing, sawing, or survival, this useful little tool can do the job for you. In Indonesia, the karambit knife is recognized as one of the country’s traditional weapons. It is used in Indonesia’s indigenous combat art, Pencak Silat.

The Karambit Knife As A Self Defense Tool

Do not let the size of this knife fool you. It may be small compared to most survival knives, but the damage that it can inflict is very serious. This is the main reason why most knife experts consider the karambit knife as the best self-defense pocket knife in the market today.

The curve design of the karambits blade is one of its greatest features. It allows the user to attack and counter-attack at the same time in a single sweeping motion. The curved blade is also useful for further reach into the body of an attacker. And because of the blade’s curved shape, it can easily wrap around the body to strike with more accurate and devastating results. The shape and the robust grip of the karambit knife also help the user to move in different directions with significant ease.

Is It Legal To Own A Karambit Knife?

Technically, yes!

But since karambit knives are considered to be dangerous and a self-defense tool, it is still wise to check first the laws that are applicable to your state. And since karambits are small and can be easily concealed, you must also realize that in the United States, laws on concealed weapons can be very strict. So if you plan to carry your karambit knife with you most especially in public areas, I encourage you to read up on the regulations regarding carrying dangerous weapons first in your area.

Now, let us take a look at our top 3 picks for the best Karambit Knives of 2020.

Pick # 1.  Spyderco Karahawk Folder C170GBBKP


  • A modern folding version of the southeast Asian karambit
  • Saber-ground VG-10 Hawksbill blade
  • Non-reflective tic coating on blade and all hardware
  • Trademark round Hole and Emerson opener
  • Overall length 6.5″ – blade length 2.35″ – closed length 4.50″

Why It’s In Our Top 3…

For people who have already tried using the Spyderco Karahawk, there is only one word to describe it: IMPRESSIVE!

The hawkbill blade of the karahawk has been precision machined from VG-10 Stainless Steel and has a reinforced ring on the butt handle for serious level control. It is also equipped with increased user comfort plus the internal corners of the ring have been constructed with a slight chamfer.

The Emerson Opening Feature is also employed in the Karahawk. This means that this karambit knife has a flip knife operation capabilities for swift and positive blade deployment. This karambit knife also has a high-strength back lock mechanism that is built to withstand the stresses of combat and martial art use. It is also fitted with a reversible hourglass clip for easy mounting.

Pick # 2. Emerson Knives Karambit Fixed Blade


  • Overall Length: 7.60 inches
  • Blade Length: 3.2 inches
  • Blade Thickness: 0.125 inch
  • Hardness: 57-59 HRC
  • Weight: 6.4 oz.

Why It’s In Our Top 3…

The Emerson Karambit is constructed with superior strength in mind. The blade is made from a chiseled ground hawkbill forged from a full tang of stonewashed 154CM steel. The tiger claw design of the Emerson is perfect for both aggressive combats as well as for self-defense. It is also the ideal karambit knife for martial arts training.

While some people consider the overall look of the Emerson as boring just because it just follow a simple fixed blade design, to most knife experts and survival adventurists, it is one of their favorites because the one-piece steel design that goes through the whole length of this karambit knife is an assurance that the Emerson is built to last.

The Emerson also provides a black molded Kydex sheath. This comfortably holds the knife in place while not in use and prevents the sharp blade from doing any unintended damage.

Pick # 3. TOPS Knives TAC-TOPS Karambit Fixed Knife TAC-01


  • Overall Length: 11.25 inches
  • Blade Length: 7.13 inches
  • Blade Thickness: 0.190 inch
  • Weight: 10.15 oz
  • Hardness: 56-58 HRC

Why It’s In Our Top 3…

If you prefer a much bigger karambit knife, then the TOPS Knives is for you. With a total blade length of 7.13 inches, this karambit knife can do some serious damage when used the wrong way. The oversized grip and finger hole of this karambit knife help balance out the blade and also stabilize the action.

The TOP Knives utilizes a full tang 1095 tool steel construction. The knife has a black traction coating for a much deadlier look as well as a non-reflective finish for camouflaging purposes.

The handle of the TOP Knives has a slightly curved design and is built around the full tang construction. This makes forward and reverse grip actions more comfortable and easier. And for easier carrying options, TOP Knives also provide a black molded Kydex sheath with Beta Loop.

Final Word

Well, here they are; our top 3 picks for the best karambit knives of 2020. These 3 knives are specifically designed not only for jungle survival but also for self-defense purposes. And if you are looking or interested in buying your very own karambit knife, then, these 3 different karambit knives in this article will surely help you decide on what to look for and what a good karambit knife should be. It will now be up to you to choose the best knife that suits your taste, your budget, and your needs.

So, what are you waiting for, go get your karambit knife now and discover what this great tool has to offer.